JNF CHAIR EFI STENZLER.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Attorneys for Jewish National Fund/Keren Kaymet Leyisrael chairman Effi Stenzler
will file a lawsuit in Petah Tikva District Court on Monday against the parties
that signed a deal that would replace Stenzler with former religious affairs
minister Shimon Sheetrit.
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Allies of Defense Minister Ehud Barak and
Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon have been trying to replace
Stenzler for more than a year – first with Simhon, then with Minister for Home
Front Defense Matan Vilna’i, and now that both men have received promotions in
the cabinet, with Sheetrit.
When Barak, Simhon and Vilna’i left Labor and
formed the Independence Party, they made sure their faction’s coalition
agreement with Likud would earmark JNF for an Independence candidate. Steps are
now being taken to implement the agreement with the backing behind the scenes of
The Jerusalem Post
obtained an agreement signed on June
2 by representatives of the Artzeinu Reform faction in the World Zionist
Organization, Kadima and its allies from the Conservative Movement’s Merkaz
Olami, and Mizrachi/Israel Beiteinu, which together comprise a majority in the
Kadima supports the deal because it includes vast powers and
financial benefits for its candidate to be co-chairman of JNF, MK Eli Aflalo.
Sheetrit agreed to give Aflalo many of the powers that usually remain with the
chairman in order to guarantee Kadima’s support.
Sources close to
Stenzler called the deal corrupt and illegal, because only the Board of
Directors at JNF can make decisions about money.
Hilik Bar sent a letter to Reform Movement leader Richard Jacobs signed by Labor
MKs warning that if Artzenu does not stop trying to unseat Stenzler, the party
would stop supporting the Reform Movement’s agenda in the
Stenzler’s allies filed a complaint this week against Sheetrit,
accusing him of numerous ethical violations, because he was Labor’s legal
adviser in the court case during the battle between Simhon and Stenzler. The
Petah Tikva District Court has accused Stenzler’s opponents, including Simhon
and Sheetrit, of not telling the truth to the court.
“The KKL is loyal to
the Jewish people and its land,” Stenzler said.
“For a year, I have been
fighting against hostile attempts to take over the KKL and its democracy. I am
proud to have taken the KKL from the verge of bankruptcy to good financial
condition. I am fighting for KKL to remain honest and not let it be abused as a
cash register for making its leaders wealthy.”
Sheetrit defended the
agreement and expressed hope that when all the legal barriers have been passed,
he will be allowed to become JNF chairman.
Simhon denied allegations that
Sheetrit was only put up for the post in order to keep the seat warm for
himself. He said the JNF chairman’s term ends in June 2014 and he expects to
remain a cabinet minister until after the next general election, which he
expects will take place on time in October 2013, which would not leave enough
time to take the job.
“I am out of that game now,” Simhon said. “The fact
that they are making such charges against me proves that they are not serious.”